Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
The suave, daring, unrivaled King of Video Games. He is on an EROTIC quest to see if lesbians indeed have the goods. BEWARE, the Moon.

How long has it been since I've covered a Fire Emblem game in one of these things? Depending on who you ask, it could range from "nearly one and a half years" to "I don't think that counts". Anyway, looking at those two reviews, you'd probably guess that I find Fire Emblem: Awakening to be an awesome goddamn game. And you'd be right, if a little mundane in your guessing. For something a little more informative, I'd say this game hedges closer toward Tear Ring Saga than it does Path of Radiance.

Part of that is because the quality of the story (or at least the plot) leans more toward the former's "I can't remember the middle half of the story" than the latter's tightly crafted greatness. It all begins at the near end of the game, where one protagonist kills another. That massive amount of foreshadowing out of the way, we then cut to the usual Fire Emblem affair: slitting brigand throats for a little while before slowly moving onto a greater, world-threatening conspiracy. And in this case, I do mean "slowly"...sort of. Looking back on it, the time it took for the plot to develop wasn't terribly long (only eight chapters out of twelve billion), but it certainly feels like it takes a long time. Not a whole lot of major things happen in those early chapters, and those that do are either forgotten or constantly feel like they're building up to something.

Just an ordinary soldier with glowing red eyes.

And that building up aspect legitimately takes forever to change. There are a lot of cool moments in the narrative, but somehow, they don't feel connected very strongly. For example, after Chrom (he's the one who was getting killed earlier) topples one of the major villains early in the story, he waits around a year before deciding to go on another (oddly similar) adventure on a completely different continent. This leads to some cool places and events (like fighting a Spanish mustache), but it seems an abrupt transition that could've been worked in a bit better. Maybe make said continent a known entity from the beginning and allude to its political situation over the course of the main plot so that it doesn't come out of nowhere. But that's really just a band-aid wouldn't work for the much larger problem of events happening in isolation rather than as part of some cohesive whole. You gotta have something to tie everything together, Fire Emblem?

What's that? You do? Oh, right, the themes. How could I forget about them?....I'm coming across as a facetious asshole, aren't I? Rest assured that I actually really love what the game is doing thematically. I might as well start with the more traditional reason of "it really fucking thinks things through". The theme of this game is "you can fight fate (within limits)", and anybody with passing knowledge of this game can tell you just how pervasive that message is. A lot of the more significant moments in the plot make this point the focus and, more importantly, do so in a thought out, effective manner. This is most evident those few times when you're presented with a huge choice out of absolutely nowhere. All of them involve somebody dying; that should give you an idea as to how weighty and urgent these choices are. But, as far as I can remember, I don't think any of them affect the plot. Emmeryn's still gonna die, and your avatar buddy is still gonna survive to kill Chrom. Remember: there are limits as to how well you can fight your fate.

Naoto? What are you doing in the Fire Emblem universe? Does Charlie know about this?

But what about the less mundane reason I alluded to previously? For the curious among you, that would be the theme's ability to act as a makeshift adhesive for the plot to make sense. Remember that "jump across continents to fight bad guys" plot point from before, and how ill-suited it seemed for the rest of the story? Well, in lieu of these themes, it works a lot better: if the characters are reliving what are essentially the same events, then it stands to reason that they're better prepared to handle them and fight back against their "inevitable" fates. Hell, it even justifies some of the less plausible plot twists the game throws at you later in the game.

But Awakening's real strengths lie in its myriad of distinctive, fleshed out characters. How have I gone this long without mentioning the characters? There are just so many of the fuckers to mention. Just to name a few, we have Owain the walking Fire Emblem encyclopedia, Frederick, who would stab a beggar asking for change because said beggar was probably packing heat, maybe, and Panne, who, despite being the last of her race of magical bunny people, somehow doesn't go all Last of the Mohicans on us. (Although I think part of that is because a man in this universe would risk getting a Falchion through the gut if he dressed up as a bear.) I could go on, and the amazing thing is that I don't think I'd run into a character I'd find lacking in detail. Maybe hard to like, yes, but never under-developed or weak in character. Hell, even the character you create, the one who should have a generic identity so as to match any possible player, has a clearly defined character to him.The only exceptions I can remember were, sadly, the villains, whose motivations and characterizations can best be summed up like so.

He's gonna transform into a giant snake and stuff Lucina into a slowly filling hourglass by the end of this, isn't he?

This may be because the villains don't have a support conversation to their name? Oh, did I not tell you about support conversations? I probably should, since I've gone 1000 words without even vaguely referencing a gameplay concept. They're just conversations between two characters who have spent a lot of time standing next to each other. I've already addressed the character aspect (it's really, really good), but it also opens up a lot of gameplay avenues for the game. First up, it's the reason I reset the game whenever one of my characters died. I've gotten to know their personalities, watched them grow, even helped them find love! You're asking me to throw that all out? Bullshit! I'm making sure all my soldiers survive so they can tell their children of my greatness! Oh, that reminds me: you can make characters fuck in this game. It has some cool story benefits, but really, it only exists to let you create horrible super-powered monster children. I had a bunny person go into battle with an insta-kill death move, and he was supported by a vampire dragon girl. What more need I say?

Maybe something about the basic gameplay mechanics. Allow me to correct that: you have a map, populated with a bunch of guys you control in battle against another bunch of guys to kill. For most of the maps, your goal is simply to kill every last one of them, but there are enough of them with different goals to keep the game from being too repetitive. This is especially true of the puzzle-like Paralogues, little side chapters that require Chrom and his Shepherds (did I mention that they call themselves that for some of the plot?) ignore this whole rebellion thing so they can jump halfway across the world for some assorted pastries, I assume. Anyway, you take a turn fighting guys, they take a turn fighting guys, and this goes on until you've met the victory conditions or they kill your leader.

"So THAT'S where the title comes from!" "No, it isn't. Chrom, can we just murder this guy and get on with our lives?"

Now that's a lot of words for something that's actually very simple to pick up. Now there are some other mechanics and nuances that I haven't elaborated upon, like the various weapons or the cost/benefit analysis of letting characters fight together or all the branching class promotions, but the core gameplay that I have described is pretty damn easy to pick up. The game's not hiding anything from you; everything you need to know is laid out before you in the first hours of the game. Thus the game is made very approachable and easy to pick up, and the difficulty, well, less difficult to deal with.

Because have I mentioned how balls hard the game is, at least if you play it on Hard like I did? (Those empty maps at the beginning felt like taunts.) If you leave even one insignificant opening in your placements, the enemy will home in on it and mercilessly eviscerate you. And at least at first, you can't grind your way out of it; the only reliable way to get more enemies on the map is by using a Reeking Box, which initially eat up 90% of your war funds. And even later, when you can grind more reliably, strength can only get you so far. Ah, but therein lies the beauty of Awakening's difficulty: its legitimate nature. It's like the exact opposite of Tear Ring Saga: everybody has excellent growths, but you're still going to get your ass kicked more than an amateur foot fetishist. It's gonna take some actual thinking and adaptation to get through these chapters, and out-maneuvering and out-thinking the enemy feels like a real accomplishment because of it. It's not entirely perfect, as the random number generator can attest to on multiple occasions, but as these issues don't come up too often, they're minor problems within a very well crafted system.

Speaking of well crafted, the graphics......OK, I think you understand what my opinion of Fire Emblem: Awakening is by now. If you don't, let me re-iterate: it's a highly refined, well thought out game flexible enough to adapt to your play style while rewarding carefully, intelligent gameplay. Sure, the plot's lacking in cohesion, but the characters are more than willing to pick up the slack. And the graphics looks really, really good, if you're still curious about that.

Review Synopsis

  • On the one hand, the actual events in the game could be better connected.
  • On the other hand, the characters are strong enough that I shouldn't really give a shit.
  • Screw it; let's go with that timeless Fire Emblem gameplay taken from Thracia 776!
  • Let's just hope that I got to use this link at some point in the blog, somehow.

Dr. Robotnik simply does not give a fuck.

Yes, I played this game just for the inflammatory title it would grant me. I am just that petty, much like the game itself. Its only goal was to see how many crass toilet puns it could cram into a single Hu Card. The difference between this game and my blog, though, is that the latter has substance (no matter how much you will undoubtedly vehemently deny in the comments).

Whereas Toilet Kids is obsessed with one thing: cheap poo jokes. Hell, it doesn't even care about the premise to get there. Some kid gets launched up via a rush of toilet water, and now he's shooting people, for some reason. Also, underpants god. And it's not like the jokes are there to pick up the slack. Toilet Kids can only do so much with poo jokes before they stop making sense altogether. Why are those ancient Egyptians holding poo? And why does this whale have shit eyes? Am I missing some cultural in-jokes or language puns or something? Because it feels more like fecal matter was sprayed on everything in sight in the hopes that it would end up funny. That's not how jokes work, guys. Poop isn't intrinsically funny; you have to do something with it to make it funny. Preferably, something that makes sense. Hell, you even get urine-farting skunks (and urine-farting other things) and poo-flinging toilets. The only people who will find this funny are ten year old boys, and that's just because they don't know how penises work yet.

Why am I shooting at flying baby penises? Who the fucking hell can say?

But there's more to Toilet Kids than mere toilet humor. Not a lot more, and it still isn't very good, but definitely more. You shoot enemies, and....that's it, really. There are power-ups to fuck around with, but as far as I could tell, you only get them in the last level, which makes you question why you'd bother including them. But hey, you don't need power-ups for a good shooter as long as the level design's decent, right? If that excuse didn't work for the poo jokes, I don't see it working too well for the level design. Most of the enemies come in predictable waves of three or five or some different form of five, and even then, I'm making it sound more complicated than it actually is. You see those flying baby dicks, for instances? That's the only formation they appear in, as far as I can remember. While this doesn't make the enemies easy to deal with, it certainly nudges the game toward repetition and simplicity, which isn't doing this game any favors.

Granted, that's only four levels of simple repetition, but four levels of crap is still crap. Now normally, I'd consider ending the blog after the crap pun quota has been met, but I want to say at least one positive thing about the game: bombing things works well. The reticle will lock onto targets in the near vicinity of where you're aiming, so 100% precision isn't necessary. Makes managing two levels of shooting rather easy. That good enough? OK, now I'm ending the blog.

Review Synopsis

  • This game thinks girls pee out of their butts.
  • It also thinks it can get away with having no power-ups and the same enemy formations repeated too many times for comfort.
#1 Posted by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

Fire Emblem! Finally! I can unleash all that pent up Fire Emblem discussion that's been building up inside me! Oh god this is gonna feel soooooooo good here it comes:

Man, what a sucky game. Fire Emblem, more like Fire Em-boredom, am I right?

...

...nah I'm just fuckin' with ya it's great. I agree with a lot of what you say about it.

I agree with you about the plot, it felt to me like it was rushing through some story lines, and seemed a bit all over the place as a result. What I mean is the first part felt like it was a retelling of Path of Radiance in about 1/3 the chapters, then they dropped the whole "what's up with the Risen?" angle and went on some went on the completely out of left field campaign to fight the Genghis Khan like dude, before doubling back and going "oh right, we should probably address the Risen and time stuff and opening sequence and all that." I found it entertaining enough, though, and that's all I ask.

And the ending? Well, "you have to kill yourself to kill the dragon once and for all, oh wait nevermind you ain't dead! Why not? Eh. Dunno." didn't really sit well with me.

And it was full of interesting characters, of whom not a single one I've come across hasn't turned out to be pretty great if given some attention, and it gives you ample opportunity to use as many of them if you wish and to experiment with different classes and raise their highly amusing and beneficial supports. Of course this resulted in me grinding a bunch of the random enemy challenges to get new skills and raise up certain supports, which caused me to burn myself out for a bit. I saw that coming and still couldn't help myself.

Hell even now that I've beat the game I still am going into random encounters and the post game paralogues in order to get supports and try out new classes. And not only that, but I actually let a couple interesting characters die because I knew I'd grind them up at some point and burn myself out and that still didn't prevent me from doing so, which is crazy. And which also demonstrates my level of self control. But also those are by far my favorite aspects of the game and I hope future Fire Emblem's keep similar systems in place.

As you say, the villains in the game get the short shrift. Fire Emblem villains usually aren't very nuanced, Sacred Stones is the only Fire Emblem I've played with a particularly interesting angle for the villain (and maybe the Black Knight in Radiant Dawn, although I felt he was a bit more... I don't know I recall not really liking what they did with him in that game), but most of them had memorable and threatening villains, at least. Because their were so many people stepping up to take a turn as villain none of them really impressed me. They were all too one note villain-y to be all interesting, and I doubt I'll remember much about them, and when the time comes to replay the game I'll be thinking "oh right, this guy! I forgot about him." Hell that already happened to me with Gangrel.

The missions themselves didn't have enough variety for me, goal wise. The paralogues had some cool optional objectives, but all the missions would only end when you'd killed either all the enemies on the map or the boss, which often required you to kill all the enemies on the map anyway as they'd all charge at you at a point. Fire Emblems don't have the most varied mission design, but for some reason this was more noticeable to me in Awakening. Maybe it was because the game had all told about 50% more chapters than a Path of Radiance and other Fire Emblem games, and though it had about as many story chapters as Radiant Dawn it didn't have the different groups to switch things up. And also the aforementioned optional random enemy challenges, of which I played a great many, didn't help either.

My other complaint about the gameplay, and I've come to find out this isn't a new thing but it was new to me, is that on hard reinforcement enemies can spawn in and immediately take a turn. I felt previous Fire Emblem games I've played were great tactical strategy games because they didn't pull such tricks, they were all about letting you see the problem, giving you all the information you need to deal with it, and then seeing the consequences of your choices, so enemy reinforcements would spawn in but you'd have a turn to react before they could move. If a character died it was because you made a bad decision. But reinforcements enemies that spawn in behind your lines with no warning and kill weak characters you thought you'd had safely tucked away? That's not cool. At least on some maps the spots where the reinforcements will pop up is clearly identifiable, but other times there's no way of knowing, and I didn't like it. It's the bad sort of trial and error-y gameplay that I criticize games like Valkyria Chronicles for.

Otherwise it was a great fucking game.

And how the hell am I the only one to comment on this? Must be because the notification system seems fucked and forums aren't on the front page.

#2 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11728 posts) -

I've said what I've already said about Awakening elsewhere: It's a dang fine Fire Emblem game. The story does go all over the place though. It's not very cohesive and the whole middle part with Walhart feels like it was taken out of an entirely different (Fire Emblem) game. The gameplay is really solid though, and I've gone down the dark hole of grinding everyone up to tackle the ultra-difficult postgame DLC for reasons I am not entirely sure of. In summation: It's Fire Emblem and I am down with that.

#3 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

And how the hell am I the only one to comment on this? Must be because the notification system seems fucked and forums aren't on the front page.

I'd say it's either because of the inflammatory title or because the blog didn't post correctly to the forums the first time. Speaking of that first one, though...

Man, what a sucky game. Fire Emblem, more like Fire Em-boredom, am I right?

...

...nah I'm just fuckin' with ya it's great. I agree with a lot of what you say about it.

Damn it! That's my bit! (Also, Fire Eh-blem would've been better.)

I don't remember the game addressing the Risen that quickly, though. They just came out of nowhere, fucked shit up for a little bit, then ALL THIS OTHER STUFF, then the game's "Oh, yea. They're future servants of Grima or whatever." Feels like a long time to go without addressing a major plot point.

And the ending? Well, "you have to kill yourself to kill the dragon once and for all, oh wait nevermind you ain't dead! Why not? Eh. Dunno." didn't really sit well with me.

It's because this is the one time you were able to defy fate. It was pretty cool, finally breaking that cycle and all.

I actually let a couple interesting characters die

YOU BASTARD.

Hell that already happened to me with Gangrel.

Really? You forgot:

As for the other stuff, I didn't have much of an issue with that. I still had fun with a lot of the maps, largely because they change how you achieve a goal without changing the goal. Each map had its own different flow that I really remember liking (except that "defend Tiki" chapter. Fuck that mess.).

I'd say same goes for the reinforcements, but that's only half the story. Sudden reinforcements? I'm fine with that. Sudden reinforcements that can suddenly move? Damn it damn it damn it.

It's the bad sort of trial and error-y gameplay that I criticize games like Valkyria Chronicles for.

Really? Because there are so many other reasons to criticize Valkyria Chronicles (Isara's death sucked several varieties of ass, for one).

#4 Posted by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

Damn, Fire Eh-blem would have been better. Though I still kinda like mine because it's such a stretch.

I don't remember the game addressing the Risen that quickly, though. They just came out of nowhere, fucked shit up for a little bit, then ALL THIS OTHER STUFF, then the game's "Oh, yea. They're future servants of Grima or whatever." Feels like a long time to go without addressing a major plot point.

That's what I was trying to say, they pop up and people go "Oh shit what's this?" and then for the next 20 chapters it's forgotten in the plot despite the fact that they keep popping up all over the place. The game felt like it could have really been 2 games worth of story, and that would have allowed them the chance to flesh stuff out better and make everything more cohesive.

But it seemed like they were defying fate quite a lot and that last scene just undercut what was meant to be an emotional moment, for no real reason. All the "Oh, you might die... or you might not (really you probably aren't gonna die so don't worry about it)" talk before that also undercut the decision, since it really seemed like a decision with no consequence. Maybe if they'd worked the supports in somehow and tied it to that system, like if the number supports you had meant you'd die or live, it would have worked better? For me, anyway.

@video_game_king said:

YOU BASTARD.

Heh. it's also an excuse to replay the game at some point. Because I seriously, seriously need to find out what Henry is like. The five seconds I saw of him were pretty fucking amazing.

As for the other stuff, I didn't have much of an issue with that. I still had fun with a lot of the maps, largely because they change how you achieve a goal without changing the goal. Each map had its own different flow that I really remember liking (except that "defend Tiki" chapter. Fuck that mess.).

I'd say same goes for the reinforcements, but that's only half the story. Sudden reinforcements? I'm fine with that. Sudden reinforcements that can suddenly move? Damn it damn it damn it.

They were minor quibbles that led to some annoyances for me, but yeah, I have no problem with reinforcements if they don't move right away, but when a trio of wyvern riders popped up completely without warning at the starting point of a particularly tough early mission map and proceeded to kill my healer, who I thought was safely tucked away behind the front lines, and the whole time there's nothing I could do about it... Well, I got rather upset. I left poor Mirabelle to her fate out of spite for that moment. Also she was kinda snobby.

I also didn't like the Tiki paralogue. Because it just required I park my units so that none of the enemies could get in attack range of her and not move them at all. What kinda chapter is that? A boring one, I say!

As for Valkyria Chronicles, I didn't say there weren't more things I could criticize it for, but generally I really liked the gameplay though I disliked the fact that the game really doesn't give you enough info to even build a basic strategy before starting up the mission at least once, then on top of that throws shit at you that you could never anticipate. I could also criticize the menus (man, it felt like half the time I spent with that game I was dealing with annoying and shitty menu's to accomplish some basic task), the story, (Isara's death did indeed suck all kinds of ass) and probably more, but I've done so enough times on this site that I really shouldn't be allowed to talk about that game anymore.

#5 Posted by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

Also as I'm still playing Fire Emblem, I just played the paralogue where you fight clones of your own team and that was scary as fuck. I'm amazed everybody made it out alive on the first go. That mission was fun.

#6 Posted by Rebel_Scum (708 posts) -

Fire Emblem is a good game. But I'm really bored with it now after having to grind my weaker characters up with street pass battles when I'm one chapter from the end because I let a few big fish die.

Also those orange coloured side story missions are fucking hard. I need to grind more for those as most of my troupe die in one hit from those mugs.

#7 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I seriously, seriously need to find out what Henry is like. The five seconds I saw of him were pretty fucking amazing.

If this game gets Miiverse support, and I can screenshot this bastard like crazy, I feel like we'll see a lot of Henry.

Damn, Fire Eh-blem would have been better.

I also would've accepted Fire Embleh.

I also didn't like the Tiki paralogue. Because it just required I park my units so that none of the enemies could get in attack range of her and not move them at all. What kinda chapter is that? A boring one, I say!

I'd say it was more because I was always occupied without a single moment of rest. Fucking reinforcements.

But I'm really bored with it now after having to grind my weaker characters up with street pass battles when I'm one chapter from the end because I let a few big fish die.

WHO ARE ALL THESE MONSTERS WHO LET PEOPLE DIE IN FIRE EMBLEM!? I doubt you guys played the first game, either, so you can't use that as an excuse.

#8 Posted by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

I think in my next playthrough I'll make a female avatar and she can marry Henry.

I'd say it was more because I was always occupied without a single moment of rest. Fucking reinforcements.

By that point my dudes were tough enough that they didn't need rest. But I'd only just discovered galeforce so my army was not yet a pack of murderous ladies on flying horses at that time, so there wasn't much for me to do but sit there and let the enemy futilely throw itself against my impervious wall of flesh.

#9 Posted by Demoskinos (14824 posts) -

That toilet kids review. Man oh man.

#10 Edited by ILikePopCans (752 posts) -

Reinforcements that can suddenly move that spawn in one of like 5 spots across the map randomly suck major ass. The plot suck major ass. The main characters suck major ass.

However, I think the gameplay is still up their as one of the best in the series for me. I really enjoy the pairing up stuff.

Soon, I will probably get most of the DLC and play through the game again.

Oh, and F off for getting Escape from the City stuck in my head.

#11 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Oh, and F off for getting Escape from the City stuck in my head.

You should see what horrible torture I've planned for the next blog.

#12 Posted by Nightriff (5079 posts) -

This is just another reminder that I need to play Fire Emblem. I've started it twice and stopped both times like 6 hours in. I was enjoying the hell out of it but something else distracts me I guess and I stop playing it.

#13 Posted by seveword (154 posts) -

Awakening is a good game and...that's all I really have to say about that. Nice write-up.

#14 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5480 posts) -

I'm still slowly picking away at fire emblem almost a year later. Savoring the experience I guess. That's how I was able to beat Ni No Kuni.

#15 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

That's how I was able to beat Ni No Kuni.

I had to consciously remember if that game was released last year. What the hell.

#16 Posted by Generic_username (611 posts) -

  • This game thinks girls pee out of their butts.

I had a friend in high school who I somehow managed to convince that girls actually had a long tube that they pooped out of. It's been five years, and I still give him shit for that.

#17 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I had a friend in high school who I somehow managed to convince that girls actually had a long tube that they pooped out of.

They do. It's called a large intestine.

#18 Posted by Generic_username (611 posts) -

@generic_username said:

I had a friend in high school who I somehow managed to convince that girls actually had a long tube that they pooped out of.

They do. It's called a large intestine.

I forgot to specify that I had told him that this was an accordion-like tube that the person would pull out and use to aim their shitting. I suppose I was trying to avoid being too graphic in my original comment.

#19 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@generic_username:

Wait. You're saying that you humans can't pull out your large intestine to shoot your feces at hungry predators? DAMN IT! I'VE BEEN LIED TO FOR SO LONG!

#20 Posted by BisonHero (6521 posts) -

I actually thought Walhart, while kind of one note, was actually quite interesting, with his philosophy about the survival of the fittest and the strongest earning the right to rule the weak. His support conversations were much more interesting than any of the other supports with characters that should be dead.

#21 Posted by probablytuna (3657 posts) -

I really want to play more of Awakening because of the characters, but the gameplay just isn't doing it for me.

#22 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@bisonhero:

Then you should probably go play Path of Radiance and give Ashnard a try. That's the guy the Awakening writers based Walhart off.

#23 Posted by BisonHero (6521 posts) -

@video_game_king: Yeah, I think that's the high point of the series. Still, Ashnard is more like power-hungry Hitler turning his country from down on their luck to invading force and using the occult to aid him, while Walhart was purely about military might and we kinda know little about Valm and its history.

#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@bisonhero:

Wasn't Ashnard more about equality than "kill the Jews"? Well, equality in the sense of "might makes right" and "these class biases around me are messed up, yo".

#25 Edited by BisonHero (6521 posts) -